TOMATO AND ONION FOCACCIA

Focaccia is an Italian flat-bread that is essentially like a pizza but without the melting cheese and sauce. The fluffy but chewy dough is a perfect blank canvas to pile on any herbs, spices or vegetables. This particular one that I made has thin slices of white onion and thin slices of red tomatoes, with the light sprinkling of dried oregano. While baking, the tomatoes and onion slices start to intensify in flavour that when you take a bite of the finished product you get a burst of concentrated goodness! It is such a versatile dough recipe that you can change up a thousand different ways. I love to serve this with a hot bowl of tomato soup. Enjoy!

Adapted and modified from the "Herbed Focaccia" recipe in the Canadian Living: Cooks Step by Step Cookbook (1999) Written by: Daphna Rabinovitch

Makes 6 servings

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.

Baking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (or 1 tbsp)
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave it alone for 10 minutes until frothy. Then in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the yeast mixture with 1 cup of flour. Mix the two together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with a plastic wrap; and leave it until it has doubled in size. This should take about 30 minutes.

2. Stir in the olive oil, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface; and knead it for a good 5 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour to create a soft dough consistency. Place the dough in a greased bowl, making sure to grease the dough all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap; and let it rise in a warm draft-free area to double in size. Let stand for about an hour.

3. Punch the dough down, and on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough enough to be able to fit on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of cornmeal onto the baking sheet before placing the rolled out focaccia dough onto it. Cover the dough lightly again and leave it for about 20 minutes to rest.

4. Press your fingers into the dough to give it that dimpled effect, then drizzle on 1 tbsp of olive oil. Layer on the sliced tomatoes and onions, and sprinkle the dried oregano, salt and pepper. Place it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool slightly, slice and enjoy.

Cook's note: If you find this to be time consuming (which I sometimes do) go ahead and use pre-made pizza dough. It works pretty much the same. Serve these bite size at your next party!

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